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African Leagues: 'Moroccan Messi' Snatches Title for Raja

African Leagues: 'Moroccan Messi' Snatches Title for Raja

Monday, 12 October, 2020 - 17:15
Abdelilah Hafidi (2nd L) celebrates scoring for Raja Casablanca in the 2019 CAF Super Cup match against Esperance in Qatar. (AFP)

Abdelilah Hafidi, popularly known as the “Moroccan Messi” was the two-goal star as Raja Casablanca dramatically won the national championship for the first time in seven years.


His second goal against FAR Rabat in the final minute of regulation time gave the Green Eagles a 2-1 win and top place on 60 points, one more than arch rivals Wydad Casablanca.


Raja and Wydad qualify for the 2020/2021 CAF Champions League while third-place Renaissance Berkane enter the CAF Confederation Cup, the African equivalent of the Europa League.


Here, AFP Sport reports on the exciting Moroccan climax, an eventful match for Egyptian champions Al Ahly, and business as usual in Sudan.


Morocco


Needing maximum points to be certain of finishing first, Raja fell behind after 42 minutes at home to FAR when Ivorian Joseph Konadu Guede scored.


Hafidi equalized just past the hour and then snatched the dramatic winner, with both goals being created by captain Mohsine Moutaouali.


It was the 12th time Raja have been crowned champions, making them the equal second most successful club with FAR behind 20-time winners Wydad.


Wydad trailed before winning 2-1 at FUS Rabat thanks to a late Zouheir el Moutaraji goal while a Mouhssine Iajour penalty earned Berkane a 1-0 victory at Olympique Safi.


Egypt


Al Ahly had a player sent off and missed a penalty when drawing 0-0 with Pyramids in a Cairo derby between two of the top three clubs in the Egyptian Premier League table.


Assured of first place, Ahly dropped their first points in three league matches under new South African coach Pitso Mosimane since he replaced Swiss Rene Weiler.


Mosimane restored Mahmoud Kahraba and Amr al Sulaya to the starting line-up, but neither player lasted even the first half.


An injury forced Kahraba off and Al Sulaya was given a straight red card before Pyramids goalkeeper Al Mahdy Soliman saved a Mohamed Afsha spot-kick on the stroke of half-time.


Sudan


Perennial title challengers Al Hilal and Al Merrikh, will represent Sudan in the 2020/2021 CAF Champions League, although who finishes first in the Premier League remains unresolved.


Hilal have 64 points and Merrikh 62 with four matches each to play in one of the great African domestic club rivalries.


Merrikh trounced bottom club El Ahly Atbara 4-1 to reduce the lead of Hilal, who drew 1-1 with sixth-place Merrikh el Fasher.


In the struggle for third place and CAF Confederation Cup qualification, Alamal Atbara are one point ahead of Al Hilal Obied and both teams have two fixtures to fulfil.


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